AP March 30, 2007:

A 16-year-old girl who caught a cold during a school trip to New York was kicked off her flight home because she was coughing.

Rachel Collier was removed from the Continental Airlines plane as it was about to leave Newark, N.J., for Honolulu earlier this week. She had fallen asleep after boarding the plane with about three dozen classmates and woke up coughing and gasping for breath as it was about to take off.

The flight attendants gave her water, and a doctor on the flight said she would be OK to make the 10-hour flight. But the captain returned the aircraft to the gate to drop off the girl and one of her teachers.

Rachel said she started crying when the captain told her to leave. She and the teacher finally made it home the next day.

Teacher Maile Kawamura, a chaperone for the spring break trip to New York and Washington, D.C., said she was shocked. The two didn’t know what to do or where to stay, she said. They finally found accommodations in New York and bought clothes and toiletries.



  1. Thats a good enough reason to sue!

  2. Angel H. Wong says:

    So it’s okay for a pilot to drunk fly a 747 but a coughin 16yo girl is a no fly person?

    You gotta love unions…

  3. JohnS says:

    Nice targeted ads “Continental” cough, cough.

  4. Logic based in Reality says:

    Rachel said she started crying when the captain told her to leave. She and the teacher finally made it home the next day.

    Well it’s about time you learned the harsh realities of the real world Rachel.. Bitching and moaning doesn’t always work.

    She had fallen asleep after boarding the plane with about three dozen classmates and woke up coughing and gasping for breath as it was about to take off.

    Next time kids.. use more GHB to keep her asleep for the whole flight.

    /joke off

    Is the new generation really this unprepared for the future..
    I highly doubt it
    This has propaganda written all over it

  5. TJGeezer says:

    This puts Continental right down there in the minus-five-stars ratings with Alaska Airlines. I wonder if there are any decent airlines left.

  6. bill says:

    He’s called the “Pilot in Command”… If he says you don’t fly… You don’t fly. The last thing everyone needs is to have to divert to somewhere with a sick passenger.

    I’d do the same thing. Elsewhere in the world they won’t let you on the plane if you have a fever (they check you temp with a handheld thing) or are caughing TB all over everyone else, or are covered in boils that are oozing puss all over the seat…

    Kind of like riding the Muni in San Francisco.

  7. John S says:

    Re#6 – Bill the story had this line. “The flight attendants gave her water, and a doctor on the flight said she would be OK to make the 10-hour flight.”. Pilots are trained to fly planes and Doctors are trained in medicine. The pilot had a professional opinion and chose to avoid it. It would be different if that opinion was not provided, but it was.

    John S

  8. bill says:

    The day you take off a fully loaded 767 with 200+ people in the back…
    Professional Flight Attendant or “Dr.” opinion or not about a sick passenger… You will not want a medical emergency over OHIO in the middle of the night… The first thing you hear is the Flight Attendant call buttons going off all over the place. then “the call” to the cockpit… CRAP!.. you’re going to miss American Idol tonight… It’s the pilots call. You can’t argue with it or you will end up at the gate also or zip-tied to your seat for the entire flight. and then arrested at the other end,.
    Happy flying… Fly yourself if you don’t like it.

  9. Matt Vapor says:

    Somehow I doubt the school will fly with them again 😛 great customer relations!

  10. greg allen says:

    >>So it’s okay for a pilot to drunk fly a 747 but a coughin 16yo girl is a no fly person?

    In what union is it OK to fly a 747 drunk? Got a link for that? I’ll bet that Union has wild Christmas parties.

    As for kicking the 16 year old off, I can understand that.

    It depends on how sick she seemed — if it was violent spastic coughing for instance, A crew member should have the right (& responsibility) to pull a passenger who doesn’t seem physically fit enough to fly.

    Better than having to do a forced-landing mid-trip.

    Of course, the airline should have also made sure the teen girl was taken good care of: called her parents; called a doctor; found her a safe place to lay down.

  11. noname says:

    Instead of Airlines finding new ways of increasing the hassle of flying, every day; I hope Airlines are using ultraviolet air purifiers for in-cabin air quality control – installed in-duct for germicidal irradiation,killing many airborne pathogens, such as Anthrax and it’s spores.

    With every increasing flight delays and being stranded on the tarmac in narrow seats, it’s impossible to steer clear of air cabin airborne pathogens such as cold viruses.

    Maybe then this 16-year-old girl who fell asleep after boarding and woke up coughing, would not have woke up coughing. But hey, it’s probably more cost effective to be every bigger Ass. I don’t think its a coincidence there is this relationship with the narrowness of Airlines seats and an Airlines Asseness.

  12. James Lipari says:

    this is drastically unfair BUT that is how all budget airlines operate. they don’t care about there passengers. it’s really worth paying a little more for much better service.

  13. Ben Franske says:

    I find it amusing that so many people here think the airline is in the wrong. Let’s say for a minute that they did allow her to stay on board and then at some time during the flight it happened again and she died in flight. You would all be calling for heads to roll, the airline, pilots and doctor would probably all be sued. In cases like this, when there is any question about fitness to travel, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.

  14. Ron Larson says:

    None of us were there. The pilot made a decision based on the evidence in front of him. That is his job. I am not going to second guess it.

    Consider the deep doo-doo he and the airline would be in if the girl had died because they were over the Pacific and could not get her to medical care in time. They would be sued out of business for putting their schedule ahead of the lives of their passengers.

    All in all, she was a no-win situation for the airline. So they did the right thing buy bumping her.

    In case you people don’t know, airlines know that sometimes they have to bump passengers for one reason or another. They know the passenger is going to be upset. So why would they put another paying passenger out to satisfy one who is still going to to be upset. They aren’t. They is why they won’t bump someone else when your flight is full. They know they have lost you…. so why double the damage?

  15. SN says:

    “None of us were there. The pilot made a decision based on the evidence in front of him. That is his job. I am not going to second guess it.”

    Yeah, we should never question authority. They always have our best interests at heart and never, i mean never, make mistakes.

  16. Miguel Correia says:

    #8, Dr. opinion or not, you don’t want an inflight medical emergency… true… well, but if a Dr.’s opinion isn’t enough for you to be sure, you might just as well leave *everyone* on the ground, just to be completely sure you will not have a medical emergency. Leave the flight attendants as well since you will not be needing them and you reduce even further the risk.

    I am not saying the captain’s decision was wrong. However, as a pilot myself and in face of the facts that are presented here, I would have not dumped the girl… If there had been no Dr. on board to assure me there would be no problem, you bet I’d have left her on the ground.

    Guess what? Doctors pass my medical license to allow me to fly as a pilot, not other pilots. It was the pilot’s decision and a completely legitimate one, but it doesn’t mean the other decision wouldn’t have been a better one.

  17. noname says:

    A pilot who looks at a coughing 16-year-old girl and had concerns about “having to upgrade the dead” should not be trusted to fly the public.

    A Doctor said this girl was OK. So what exactly did the “pilot” base his decision on, his Gut. A Gut decision may be good enough for GW and his supporters, but I prefer something more objective and substantial.

    Maybe if this “pilot” did a GW and looked into her eyes and didn’t see her soul I’d be convinced she has to go, like too many of the posters here are.

  18. Anonymous Coward says:

    They should kick people off for farting on airplanes. It is what I have coined a new word, “turdbulence.”

  19. Simple says:

    #6 Bill –

    I hope I will not have you for my pilot, for the simple reason that you exhibit the classic signs of an autocratic PIC that is unable to integrate information provided by subordinates. Accident reports I’ve read (for fun) show that autocratic personalities tend to instill fear in the crew. This fear prevents the crew from correcting errors of the PIC. Through this style of interaction, small problems develop into unrecoverable situations. On reflection, I don’t believe you have more than a PPL.

  20. Joe says:

    First of all….I was on the plane….the girl was having trouble breathing because she was coughing “uncontrollably” . The AP report was written by some expert on the ground……not by the doctor or the flight attendants that dealt with the girl…….do not believe ALL that you read …..it’s not even close to the truth. the girl called her parents from the plane before she got off…..the teacher stated that she had family in the area to stay with. The captain never saw the girl but did make the right call……the girl was not in any condition to travel for 10+ hours and would any of you experts feel the same way if you happen to have been be seated next to this sick young lady for 10 hours……I think not.

  21. Erin says:

    Another story says that the girl and her teacher were compensated by the airline for the expenses they incurred while they were stranded. Whatever the reason for asking her to leave the flight, I think the airline has more than made up for any possible inconveniences they suffered. I think these people should be thankful for the help they received and quit their bitching.

  22. If the girl, was in such a bad state surely the responsible thing would have been to get the girl aid after she came of the plane but of course airports are their to make money not look after people. If she was unwell enough for somebody to send her of the plane then surely its done for her safety not because of the “horrible” pilot just a bit of after care would probably be good.

    Cheers

    David.

  23. jim says:

    I would have had sex with her. You can’t cough with a full throat.

  24. dougx says:

    If the girl had gotten very sick during the flight, that airline would have been sued and the captain maybe fired. Other passengers were probably complaining about the coughing and germs as well.


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